Dan Juster at CATC: A Performance Review


“I wonder if it’s because they’re thinking, ‘How can this be a Chosen People if they’ve done such evil?’ Maybe if I were a Palestinian I would be drawn to that theology.” – Dan Juster in Q&A at Christ at the Checkpoint, when asked if he thought Bethlehem Bible College believed in replacement theology, March 12th 2014


Before Dan Juster spoke at Christ at the Checkpoint, he reassured Messianic Jews that he was going to “really challenge” replacement theology, and the anti-Israel narrative in Bethlehem. Juster underscored this in Israel Today magazine:

“I think if we Messianic Jews are invited to participate and we do not, we leave the narrative to those who have replacement theology and very anti-Zionist narratives.  As long as we have freedom to express ourselves in a fair way my philosophy is to go to those who do not agree and dialogue. I will be speaking about the Jewish people and the Land promises.”

Juster’s friends on both sides of the Messianic debate over CATC urged us to hope for the best from his talk, and in that spirit we posted a prayer request for Dan last night – hoping he would speak boldly and clearly.

As you can see from the quote above, Juster thought he was going simply to oppose replacement theology. But it was never going to be that simple. Juster’s anti-Zionist opponent Gary Burge also claimed to oppose replacement theology, putting Juster in a difficult position. Indeed, Burge skewered Juster early on in the debate, by stating:

“my deepest fear in this conversation is frankly not about theology, not ultimately. It is about religious heritage as privilege.”

This was exactly what we warned about last week, yet Juster seemed ill prepared to respond to him.

Burge launched into why he thought the idea of Zionism as God’s land promises to Jewish people did not sit well with the New Testament idea of God giving promises to the whole world through Jesus. He also criticised Israel heavily for its political actions, laying the gauntlet down for Juster. Juster was given 25 minutes for his own talk – as Burge was – yet Juster spent half of this time giving some background as to who he was, without directly addressing the question.

Juster clearly felt on the defensive, and began to offer a revisionist history of Zionism as a wholly negative response to pain,  rather than as a positive project embarked upon by visionaries and pioneers. Juster portrayed Israel as a response to Jewish pain – a response to “pogroms and holocausts”, but was more targetted in his appreciation of Palestinian pain:

“I come to this conference with trepidation, because I’m speaking to my Palestinian brothers and sisters, because you are experiencing enormous pain. The pain is almost incomprehensible.”

Juster also appeared to claim that Israel was formed by a “Jewish intifada”, which seemed a one-sided, simplistic and anachronistic way to describe the War of Independence and the diplomatic achievements of the nascent Jewish state in 1948. Ultimately, Juster painted the creation of Israel as a Jewish homeland as bleak and negative. He found a receptive audience.

To be fair, Juster did talk about justice on both sides of the fence, at one point saying:

“Is it just for all these missiles to be aimed at us? No”

In this, Juster became the first Messianic Jew at CATC to voice any semblance of Israel’s security concerns; something which Wayne Hilsden, Evan Thomas and Richard Harvey failed to do in 2012. Such a bold statement in Bethlehem was a form of progress, of sorts.

Perhaps Juster chose not expand too much, as he appeared to have been deeply moved by the anti-Zionist film The Stones Cry Outwhich utterly whitewashed the issue of Palestinian terror. Later on, Juster almost condemned Palestinian terrorism, but ultimately cushioned the impact of his words, when he said:

“we need to talk about terrorism, we could spend 3 days doing it, with a lot of prayer”

Note there was no direct complaint from Juster that Palestinian terrorists were murdering Jews causing them to build a security fence, but rather a general suggestion to talk about terror, which he hurriedly sought to contextualise by saying we should pray about it.

What we found quite disturbing was when Juster suggested he’d be happy with a one-state solution which would mean Israel would no longer be the Jewish homeland:

I’m for best way to mitigate suffering for all ppl here. If that’s 2-state solution, OK. If it’s Israeli citizenship [for Palestinians], OK.

All this prompted Stephen Sizer to tweet:

#CATC2014 Dan Juster is speaking eloquently and has much in common with Gary Burge. Good to see unity in action”

We would agree with Sizer here, in that it was certainly hard to find any points of disagreement between Juster and Burge of note. Indeed, Juster went further than perhaps any of the replacement theologians by seeming to offer an implied defence of an antisemitic theology, when he said:

“I don’t know all the professors at Bethlehem Bible College but I think replacement theology is very strong, and I wonder if cos they’re thinking, ‘how can this be a Chosen People if they’ve done such evil?’ Maybe if I were a Palestinian I would be drawn to that theology.”

Here Juster appears to be rationalising Palestinians to think negatively of Jews as collective perpetrators of evil; it is hard not to see this as some kind of explaining how antisemitism was an understandable response. Even CATC shied away from tweeting this line.


Finally, there was a particularly unpleasant conversation about secular Jews, which I feel was particularly upsetting, and I hope that our readers can see why. The back-and-forth went like this:

Burge – “that secular Jew on the beach on Tel Aviv…”

Juster – “taking off their clothes on the Sabbath. What could be worse?” *audience laughter*

Burge – “What’s that game they play on the beach? Anyway, you would describe them as not living out an Abrahamic life. If they are not living in concert with the covenant – do we say to that community playing paddle ball make claims to covenant of Abraham?”

Juster – “if they dont let themselves get wooed to God, they’re really in a lost condition.”

Burge and Juster are laughing at the idea of a secular Tel Aviv resident playing matkot, in his/her beach gear in the hot sun. They both assume that this kind of person displeases God and has no faith,  Juster later assumes they are in a “lost condition.”

Would Burge or Juster dare to make crude stereotypes about the way everyday Palestinian girls in Ramallah choose to enjoy themselves or dress, and would the audience laugh at them – and would theologians condemn them to a “lost condition”?

We don’t see anything wrong with playing matkot on the beach in your sunglasses and swimwear. But the purpose of this conversation seemed to facilitate a sneering attitude to Tel Aviv residents – in keeping with the general tone of the conference.


We have to say that Dan Juster’s CATC talk today was worlds apart from the criticisms of CATC which he made a few days prior to Messianic Jewish leaders. Juster had complained that CATC offered no critique of radical Islam; yet here he was without any mention of radical Islam himself.

Juster may well rue the missed opportunity that CATC was – a 25-minute talk that involved much irrelevant material. He may well make a promise to himself, that he will write a powerful article to redress the balance once he’s back across the checkpoint.

By then, the moment will be gone.

43 thoughts on “Dan Juster at CATC: A Performance Review”

  1. Dan Juster: what a disappointment as some sort of representative of MJs. Gary Burge sees no future land promises for Israel; no messianic kingdom in which Yeshua rules from Jerusalem. He sees salvation for Jewish people but the prophetic promises regarding Israel as spiritualized by Burge using his skewed NT hermeneutic.
    Residents of Tel Aviv playing Matkot on the beach gives evidence Israelis are not living out the Abrahamic faith? What idiocy Juster fell for? What do a Christians at Wheaton college where Burge teaches do for recreation? Read the Bible and attend church only? Do Wheaton students go swimming on real swimming pools wearing bathing suits or do they swim in their clothes? How can Wheaton College Christian claim to be living out the Abrahamic faith if they put on bathing suits and perhaps enjoy a little fun? Burge is making Jewish stereo-types again as he did last year. Why don’t his opponents see through Burge’s antisemitism and sloppy NT theology. His OT theology consists of memorizing the curses God pronounced on a rebellious Israel but Burge ignores the blessings and the everlasting love God declares for the Jewish people as on Jeremiah: “This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name: “Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will Israel ever cease being a nation before me.” This is what the Lord says: “Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 31:35-37 NIV)

    1. Do you think DJ was unprepared? He is certainly intelligent and well educated. Or had he agreed to not offend in order to keep the lines of communication open?

    2. As I reply to my own post I want to issue a sincere apology for any disparaging remarks I made or implied regarding my messianic brother in Yeshua Dan Juster. At a time when Dan is facing the likes of Gary Burge at CATC with his anti-Israel theology and his snide anti-Semitic remarks about Jewish people, this is not the time for me or anyone else to turn against a brother in Yeshua who has the best of intentions in dealing with the CATC pro-Palestinian anti-Israel crowd.

      During this week of CATC 2014 my prayers go forth for Dan Juster that the Lord will give him further opportunities to take a strong stand for Israel in accordance with his clear cut commitment to both the land and the people of Israel and that his equally strong ability to refute the deception and confusion of Replacement Theology will be displayed in any public further encounters he has with CATC representatives. Already in one of his tweets Stephen Sizer has falsely portrayed Dan Juster as being in theological unity with Gary Burge. I believe this statement by the ever deceptive Stephen Sizer is furthest from the truth. I pray Dan Juster gets a chance to publicly correct Sizer and unmasks him for the troublemaker that he is.

      1. CATC theological assumptions will never be challenged properly unless Messianic scholars can respond to NT Wright’s writings. NT Wright is the reason that CATC claims they are not Replacement but rather are Enlargement Theologians. It is the politics draped with theology that need responding to, not attacking a Replacement Theology that CATC says it rejects.

        1. I don’t know why this got deleted, which I discovered when I went to comment on it: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/11/gods-first-love-the-theology-of-michael-wyschogrod This is an excellent article. I recall hearing him speak many years ago, and Wyschogrod, surprisingly 30 years ago, was very positive toward Messianic Judaism, seeing it as a bridge between the church and the Jews and that its destruction prevented a force for fighting antisemitism.

          The only thing I don’t agree with is that you can’t paint Christianity with a broad brush. Not all Christians are evangelicals and not all Christians or all evangelicals view Israel with tenderness.

        2. Hey, we wouldn’t have deleted it intentionally, sometimes comments just get lost in WordPress – but in any case, sorry about that.

  2. I’m not against MJs accepting invitations to speak at CATC, as such. BUT, if you are going to go, remember the people you speak to want you there only to use you and to get you to appear to agree with them so they can tell the world that you, a Messianic Jew, agree with their toxic agenda. Go to CATC if you feel God is calling you to do that, but if you go remeber that you have a duty to God and to Israel to speak truthfully, clearly, boldly, biblically and, if necessary, angrily to those people who cloak their hypocricy with high-sounding cant about justice and the kingdom of God. I can’t profess to understand Dan Juster’s motive for going to CATC but Burge and his pals will all have sore hands from the high fives they’ll have been giving out.

  3. Why oh why?? I really hope Dan Juster feels ashamed of this. Please note though that I really do respect him, he has done many great things, written excellent books and articles, but this must be the most pathetically wasted 25 minutes of everyone’s time. What happened?!
    As a messianic Jew, I expect an apology from him because he has presented me and all other MJ’s in the worst light possible to a group who clearly do not have a great opinion of us to begin with. I am angry and I know I’m not the only one.

    Juster’s and Burge’s comments about Tel Avivis playing on the beach was not only inappropriate, but also extremely hypocritical. What point was he trying to make here? That he is frummer and because he doesn’t play ball on the beach and therefore in a less ‘lost condition’ than they are? I mean no disrespect to you personally, Juster, but if you allow yourself to speak so disparagingly of the secular you had better start wearing your tzitzit, black hat and coat, and a shtreimel on shabbat!

    1. If you check out the moral climate at Wheaton College, they do more than swim in pools and have fun. That Tel Avivis are playing on the beach on Shabbat is evidence that God kept his promises to bring his people back to the land based upon his promise, not upon their faithfulness.

      You may have heard this: A horse has 4 legs. If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a horse have? Answer: Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it one, and calling a wolf a sheep doesn’t make him one either. I wonder why CATC doesn’t invite Dr. Brown to speak? I heard Burge refused to debate Jacob Prasch.

      Some agreement had to go on behind closed doors of all attendees outside the Hate Israel camp.

  4. This conference is a sham! It’s not about dialogue or reconciliation at all, its a bunch of Christians talking smack about Jews, like they have always done. Criticizing the secular for not observing shabbat (as a Jest) when replacement theology has no interest at all in halachic observance of any Jewish holidays or Sabbath, is just infuriating, as it grants credence to replacement theology’s trivialization of Jewish praxis and theology. The rabbis are right when they call out messianics as Christians with Kippot, when there is such disrespect for something as serious as sabbath desecration going on in the minds of the Jewish community. Jews will never take Christian beliefs seriously (nor should they) while the law of Moses is so mocked. The Messiah brings people to the commandments, he does not annul them, or lead them away. Asking a question implying understanding for antisemetism (how can they be chosen when they have done such evil..) trivializes so many things, even if it was rhetorical. The UN of all places allowed Israel statehood, and for people to blithely throw that aside is just bad history. The world stood by while millions of people Jews and non Jews were killed, and the Vatican didn’t even speak out! Hitler got his ideas for the stars, the ghettos, taking possessions, etc, from the Church. Its shameful to trivialize these facts by stating: “when Israel behaves questionably, its understandable that you hate them.” I’m sorry, but this is reaching the absolute depths of hypocrisy, when Christians confronted with their misdeeds throw out, “those weren’t real Christians” and think, that exonerates them. People say “Jesus broke us free of the yoke of the law,” why then are we said to be under the law of Christ? Gentile Jesus meek and mild has a law too, and its not all that different then the laws for proselytes to Judaism. If you have no respect for halacha, and Jewish observance of it, then you have no real respect for religious Jews, just admit it! If you advocate universalism, don’t pander by wearing special clothing, or feigning observance, etc. I don’t keep kosher, or observe sabbath, or any halacha, because I am not Jewish, but I at least make the effort to try and respect and understand it. if you claim the title Messianic Jew, messianic rabbi, etc. than at least have something of authentic Torah in your theology and Observance. Not even the orthodox Christians would laugh about Jews not being in synagogue on the Sabbath, even rhetorically, because shabbat is still called Holy Saturday in orthodoxy, its still liturgically important. Its a shame that this conference had to take place.

    1. These, “Palestinian Christians,” are all dhimmis, if not stealth Muslims. No other Christians living in the Mideast would claim that they have no argument with Muslims (who slaughter them, force them into exile and other forms of persecution) but Israel is the source of their problems?

      Perhaps someone would like to compare the number of people killed by Jews with those killed by Christians and Muslims; slaughter rate broken down by religion. We could just look at acts of terrorism in this century for starters.

      As far as the attack upon secular/nonobservant Jews regarding Shabbat; why not ask why these “Christians,” don’t love their enemies?

      Let Juster et al make peace within MessyWorld and set an example before attempting something they know not what they do.

  5. This is what I expected. There are some, like Juster, who accept the idealistic and humanistic narrative that all the world’s problems can be solved by a group hug, holding hands and singing, “Kumbaya.” They see no evil; only misunderstanding. And they refuse to see the wolves-in-sheep’s clothing, framing them as hurting sheep. Via Gen. 12:3, Ps. 129:5 and other verses, I believe it is clear that those who hate Israel and the Jewish people do not belong to the same God we serve. Replacement theology is only an excuse for hatred, not the source.

    I gather Juster refused to speak boldly and call for repentance from hatred. Those who would speak boldly would not be invited, and if one dared to speak truth, they would probably be quickly hushed and booed off the podium. I suspect that there was some pre-agreement as to what would and would not be spoken.

    I don’t want to pick on either Juster or CATC, but I have seen this narrative over and over, where dangerous wolves are hope against hope, viewed as errant brethren who just need a little love. You can’t conquer your enemy if you cannot even identify him correctly. I’ve known a number of Israeli Arabs and Palestinians who do not hate Israel or the Jewish people. The prudent see evil and take precautions; the unwise go on and suffer harm.

    It doesn’t matter anyway. The Holy One of Israel does not need the support of the US, Christian Zionists or well-meaning yet undiscerning Messianics. Flip that theory around, as judgement will occur, measure for measure, against nations and religious entities that despise, seek to harm or treat as insignificant, the covenant people of Israel both those living in the land and those still in the diaspora. You don’t need to believe a word of this and can consider it rubbish. But just sit back and wait.

  6. The Bible clearly says that Jewish Religious stats has been replaced by Jesus and the world wide Christian Church of believers as the only way to Salvation, God has always preserved a remnant of Jews for His own promise and name sake, and not because Jewish religious leadership was special any longer. Nevertheless good Christians should be very supportive of the nation of Israel and strongly oppose terrorism and help the defense of the country and work within the to make it a homeland for all of Jewish decent while supporting anyone who desires to be a law abiding citizen. Christians should understand that most ideological and historical claims Palestinians have made politically are a fraud. Personal Spiritual Salvation is now only through Jesus but that does not do away with the duty to support the nation of Israel politically. The Bible says it is their land…all of it…and individuals have a choice to live peacefully within it as a full participating citizen including serving in the IDF, or being a citizen of another country. So called Palestinians have no legitimate land claim for a country, although individuals may have personal claims for loss under rules of expropriation. Israel will survive and must be fully supported as God said so, even while individuals may only approach God through Jesus.

    1. I agree with most of what you wrote, save for: “The Bible clearly says that Jewish Religious stats has been replaced by Jesus and the world wide Christian Church of believers as the only way to Salvation”. Are you seriously preaching supersessionism here?

      Alright, before the others start tearing you to pieces, kindly refer to all the covenants mentioned in the OT, what the prophets say concerning them, then turn to the NT and read what Jesus himself says, as well as what paul writes concerning them. Torah and the Commandments are still valid, and the Gentiles are grafted into the Jewish Nation via their faith in the Jewish messiah. I’m not going to go into tedious details save that maybe a helpful place to start would be the first apostolic council in Jerusalem, concerning Gentile believers: They were not required to follow all commandments from the mosaic covenant, but that they should keep the ten commandments and refrain from eating blood…because it is written so in the Torah.

      I probably wont convince you here, but I want to encourage you to read the bible maybe more accurately. Or maybe I misunderstood you. Either way, its great to support and pray for Israel, because they really need all the prayer they can get cause they are just humans too, capable of making mistakes.

  7. It was bad on so many levels- Juster seemed muddled in his statements and lost whatever opportunity he had to give a clear rebuttal to Burge’s so called ” fulfilled theology.” If I was a MJ living in Israel I would be embarrassed.

  8. To Paul Forseith: With due respect, to say that Jewish ritual is unimportant and was replaced by Jesus is inaccurate. For instance, if food laws (Kosher) was undone by Jesus, there should be no problem with eating food sacrificed to idols, with eating blood, or things strangled. Acts 15. If ritual circumcision no longer matters for Jews then 1 Corinthians 7 (which says that Jews should stay circumcised AFTER BEING CALLED) makes no sense. Paul’s circumcision of Timothy (whose mother was Jewish and whose father was a gentile) also makes no sense if Paul interpreted the Torah sans pharisaism. According to a strict reading of the Torah by itself, it is indicated that a Jewish father determines tribal and thus religious affiliation. In circumcising timothy Paul shows compliance with Pharisaic and later rabbinic practices and norms during roman occupation. Christian sources show some level of acceptance of basic halachic rules of piety placed on gentiles at the time. Assertions that Jesus has done away with the Old Law, shows a lack of in depth knowledge of the sources in their historical context. Augustine himself in De Doctrina Christiana 3.6,10;ep. 40.4,6 discusses Paul’s continued observance of Jewish rites. Paul taught that gentiles, not Jews were exempt from the Law of Moses. Justin martyr in his Dialogue with Trypho also attests to Jewish Christians maintaining observance of the rituals of Judaism. He even held communion with them, provided that they would not press gentiles to convert to Judaism. We have to remember that Jesus was called rabbi and taught in the Temple. His disciples were Jews who wore (tzittzit or phylacteries,) went to the Synagogue on the sabbath, etc. The point that is being made, is that anti Judaism is an inaccurate position that needs to be rectified. Its not a fault that Christians haven’t seen Judaism in their Bible (we have been separate from the Jewish context of the religion for centuries,) but it is time to put aside blind assertions of being “better” “newer” etc. The term New Testament didn’t exist before the 2nd century gnostic Marcion composed his “canon of books.” Jews are not lost or inferior to Christians.Isaiah 53:11 “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his KNOWLEDGE shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” The Messiah’s life, teaching, death, and resurrection spur the wicked to repentance, and in this way, he bears iniquity, and his death atones. Zechariah 12 and 13 tell of mourning over the death of this righteous one, subsequent trials, and a period of refinement and repentance following it, resulting in peace in the kingdom. Notice that Paul says he needed to fill up what was still lacking as regards Christ’s sacrifice in Colossians 1:24. salvation for Paul is participation in Christ, not belief alone, and not devoid of faithful actions.

  9. Oded Shoshani was great, if only all Messianic Jewish speakers at CaTC had been like him. Oded gave a master-class on how to speak at an overwhelmingly anti-Israel conference.

        1. Knowing the dishonest nature of the CATCists I wouldn’t be suprised if Oded Shoshanni’s presentation gets accidentally ‘lost’.

  10. Not that Dan Juster needs me to defend him, but I must say that many of you seem to be missing some very important points that Dan made and how his presentation fit into the overall presence of the MJ voice at the conference. I was there, and believe me, it was hard to sit still through many of the presentations and outright emotional manipulation that was taking place there, especially outside of the presentations where it was often much worse.

    However, I believe it is immature to think that every MJ should have taken every opportunity to come out with guns blazing and tried to shoot down every falsehood, mis-characterization or slanted argument. If you listen carefully, what Dan Juster did was speak to the heart of the issue that has filled the hall from the beginning: whatever you call their theology (fulfillment, enlargement, replacement etc) it is the product of people searching for a way to justify their political and personal agenda which is driven by their “pain” or “suffering.” Dan made it clear that this was not the proper way to build theology and Gary Burge ended up agreeing with him!

    Now, did any of those already in the PC camp or those pre-disposed to their position change their thinking? My guess is probably not. But the hall was filled with a wide spectrum of folks, and what Dan and Oded both did was really all that any of us can do – hold up the truth. The counterfeit will be visible when the real thing is present. Those who are genuinely seeking truth will then be able to discern it.

    There was much said and some folks here have taken incomplete quotes and used them to paint an unfair picture. The discussion itself was long and detailed and I encourage you to listen to the whole thing. For those who felt that Dan Juster wasn’t strong enough or missed opportunities to “score points”, I would just like to note two things :

    1) You cannot build a house with just a hammer. Dan’s talk and Oded’s talk were both important pieces to a whole message that needs to be shared. Dan’s message was a bit more theological and nuanced, but it had no less impact on people there. Much of what he shared was disarming and enabled many to actually hear the rest of what he had to say. I spoke with several people afterward who were very impressed and even surprised at how the Lord spoke through him in a manner that allowed people to listen who may otherwise have shut their ears and hearts.

    In fact, Dan brought up what I and several others there believed were two of the most important and impactful statements that have been made at the conference: 1) We cannot build theology based upon pain. Gary Burge even reiterated that statement at the end. 2) God has put everyone into an impossible position so that they must cry out to Him! These were bold statements and something that many on either side do not wish to hear.

    For those who think that Gary Burge was dancing with joy that Dan Juster was now on his side, you need to go back and listen carefully. When Dan Juster made the points about the Jews coming back to the land, it was Gary Burge that ended up having to state that he was agnostic as to whether Israel being back in the land was from God! Dan’s demeanor and clear argument left Gary Burge squirming at the thought that he might have to admit that this was God’s doing. Of course he couldn’t, but he had no other argument for it than ‘I’ll have to wait and see.’

    2) To be fair, the whole discussion of the Tel Aviv paddle ball player was brought up and concocted by Gary Burge. Dan understood where Gary was going right away and Gary’s lack of tact or eloquence in his description was not Dan’s fault. Everyone in the place knew that Gary was trying to be “cute” in his description of unbelieving or ‘worldy’ Israelis (he seems do this often) Yes, his description was very lame, and Dan could have made him be more clear and explicit, but I think we all understood what Gary Burge was trying to say, and Dan Juster was probably more concerned with the bigger issue.

    Overall, the biggest problem I saw (though certainly not the only one) at the conference was that it was supposed to focus on the kingdom of God, but few are willing to seek first the kingdom. I think the MJ’s both did an excellent job in raising issues to remind everyone that the kingdom of God consists of both justice and truth, and one cannot expect the right to speak of justice without speaking in truth.

    I would only add that Dr. Juster’s trepidation at speaking there was not because of the blowback he would get from the immediate anti-zionist audience, but rather from the harsh criticism he was already getting from MJ’s before he went. Overall, I believe Dan Juster did what God called him to do and he did it with love and excellence The ongoing nitpicking and criticism of such a brother seems counterproductive to the call we all share. John 13:34-35.

    1. Good reply, Matthew. I would just say that my only major criticism of Dan was during the Q&A when he pointed out that there is Replacement Theology permeating Bethlehem Bible College, but then went on to say that if he were a Palestinian Christian, he too would probably be attracted to that theology.

      I know he was in a difficult place, speaking from the heart of the “Lion’s Den,” as it were.

      However, we should be encouraging our Palestinian brothers to move away from Replacement Theology, not validating their attraction to it. Dan seemed to do the former from the podium, but then switched to the latter when directly confronted by Burge and others.

      1. Hi Ryan, I would encourage you to listen to that exchange again, as Dan was not condoning or validating their reasons for embracing RT, but rather acknowledging the temptation and pressure to go that way, and then encouraging them to rethink what they are doing.

        As much as I disagree with their stance, I can see how there is a great temptation and pressure on the PC to fall into RT and anti-zionism. Life is a lot more difficult in PA controlled areas for those who have the faith and courage to acknowledge God’s plans for Israel. What is most sad is that there are so many westerners who are willingly embracing the same theology and encouraging the PC to embrace such a theology, rather than speaking the truth and helping to build their faith and strengthen them as they deal with their neighbors who are enemies of the gospel and truly persecuting Christians.

        I also spoke with some local PC who do not agree with the conference and the positions of BBC. But they also pay a price for that stance.

        1. If Dan said “there’s a lot of pressure on Palestinian Christians to accept replacement theology, because life is difficult,” I would agree with you.

          Instead, he implied Palestinians accept replacementism because they see the evil deeds of Jews who call themselves the Chosen People.

          There is a world of difference.

  11. I believe his point was one of perception, not fact. He was saying that if he were one of them living with that perception, he could understand how it would influence him. I think it is a disservice to the body to take small snippets of speech out of the overall context of the talk and discussion and pick them apart as if they were said in a vacuum. As I mentioned before, there were a great number of things said that one needs to take into account to fully understand such a comment. There was also quite a bit of nuance in the discussion and much needs to be understood in the broader context.

    Now that’s not to say that there were not some MJ and CZ folks who had minor disagreements with a few things Dan said. But I guarantee you that no one came out of that room saying that Dan Juster affirms PC RT because he agrees that the Jews are evil.

    1. “Now that’s not to say that there were not some MJ and CZ folks who had minor disagreements with a few things Dan said. But I guarantee you that no one came out of that room saying that Dan Juster affirms PC RT because he agrees that the Jews are evil.”

      That would not be why I was disappointed with Dan’s 25 mins, having expected so much more, which I have watched three times (http://new.livestream.com/accounts/7454985/events/2819797/videos/44911158), rather he wasted so much of it finding common ground, background and then not responding concisely to Burge’s politically infused theology. If he had more time then fair approach, if he had responded to Burge then fine, but he did not. If his purpose was to present a Messianic Jewish leader who was not dispensational, was a conservative, ex-Presbyterian and had more in comment with Burge than they conflicted over, then he did a good job.

      That said, I did however very much like his challenge creating theology out of pain and the challenge to the title of Christ at the Checkpoint which is very much theology out of pain, this was a direct attack on the very foundation and raison d’être of CaTC, so praise where praise is due, but also dismayed where I felt he could have done so much more.

    2. I’m sorry but if what Juster said was a challenge then it was FAR too subtle for me – it reminds me of people who think they can see the Da Vinci Code or a hidden Bible Code – if you look closely enough you might just see it!

      Instead, I heard Juster instead implying anti-Jewish theology is okay if you’re a Palestinian. I can’t see how you can be comfortable with that. Far from being a “small snippet,” it was central to his talk.

      To show the folly of the logic “if I were a Palestinian, I would…”, consider this.

      There was a British MP sacked for saying “if I were a Palestinian I’d be a suicide bomber” – you could argue at a stretch, I suppose, that she was just understanding their pain, but no serious people would take her message in that way.

      Or is it morally acceptable to say now or think anything , so long as we preface it with the words “If I was born Palestinian”?

    3. Matthew – the problem is that we live in a soundbite world (or at least a soundbite society). I am not worried about fellow MJ’s taking Dan the wrong way. I am worried about that particular snippet making the rounds among Palestinian Christians, foreign anti-Zionist Christians and Evangelicals who might either be sitting on the fence or not know much about the topic of Israel to begin with.

      That soundbite, and it will be distributed as a soundbite, can have great influence on these groups, considering the authoritative source from which it came.

      Given our society’s fast-paced nature and the rampant use of small snippets to influence public opinion and shape beliefs, we need to be careful of everything we say, and not rely on the explanation that such remarks must be seen within the grander picture. Because those who want to smear Israel will ignore the larger picture of what Dan said, and distribute far and wide one small snippet that would appear to validate supercessionism among Arab believers.

      As evidence of this, you need only look to Stephen Sizer’s excited tweets during the Juster-Burge Q&A session. Sizer clearly ignored the underlying message of Dan’s talk, and was pleased to announced that Dan and Gary Burge are in agreement.

      I just want to close with a note that I love Dan Juster, and I hope that my criticism won’t be taken as an attack on him personally, as some are accusing myself and RPP of doing. It is not wrong to critique our leaders, so long as it is done in love.

  12. Juster is reflecting a new stream of weakened, watered down Messianic Judaism, where leaders gently and cunningly push a liberal agenda on their unsuspecting congregations – resembling Reform/Progressive Jewry in practice and Liberal Christendom in theology. My ideals for MJ are more modern Conservadox in practice and closer to Evangelical in theology. (I also know at least one MJ leader is a closeted Catholic, spreading seeds for Catholicism and ever so gently trying to change the MJ movement into something it never was.) We need some salt and light… and I thank G-d for leadership with a backbone strengthened by the Ruach.

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